Google Allo has just arrived, after being introduced at the Google I/O conference earlier this year and people are already declaring it to be the WhatsApp killer. While we agree that Allo’s Smart Reply feature and Google Assistant integration are some really in-built additions, regardless it has a long way to go before it can even think of becoming a viable competition to the Facebook owned WhatsApp.
We are comparing Google Allo and WhatsApp from an Android user view but most of the points should be valid for iPhone users as well.
Google Allo: What’s Unique?
Google Allo includes the usual features you would expect in a messaging app like the ability to share media & location, custom notifications, read receipts, voice messages, GIF support, group chats etc. However, let’s discuss about the features that make Google Allo stand out against the highly popular WhatsApp.
Let’s start with a quite essential feature like stickers, which is something many people have been wanting for WhatsApp. Allo packs in stickers along with a sticker store, where you can download more. The store does not pack a lots of stickers, starting at now, but that should change soon, as Allo begins getting some traction.
- Shout or Whisper a Message
Allo gives you a chance to shout or whisper a message, which is nothing but the ability to increase or decrease the font size of text before you send it. It’s easy to use. simply type in a text and press hold the send button, which will begin a slider which you can use to increase or decrease text’s font size. This should come in accessible when you need to show how excited you are or when you are uninterested.
- Incognito Chat
Google Allo includes an incognito chat mode, similar to Telegram’s secret chats feature, which features a self-destruct timer, discreet notifications and the messages send in the chat are end-to-end encrypted.
- Smart Reply
Now there are variety of messaging apps available and none of them pose a threat to WhatsApp because they don’t have a killer feature. Allo’s Smart Reply is something which makes the messaging app a lot more addictive. Smart Replies are AI-based reply suggestions to a text or a photo and it’s not a trick, as we have tried the feature and it certainly works amazingly well.
It even brings you reply suggestions when a picture is send. Also, these smart replies are available right in the notification shade, so you don’t even need to open the app.
While Allo’s Smart Reply feature isn’t able to handle complicated messages just until now, Google says it will get a lot better with time, as it learns from your way of conversing. Moreover, Smart Reply is certainly accessible when you need to respond to messages on the go, without taking up a lot of time.
Allo features the “preview edition” of Google Assistant and it already looks great. There are two ways to access Google Assistant in Allo. You can directly talk to the assistant through its separate chat thread or you can trigger it any chat or group chat by typing @google and typing in your query.
It’s powered by Google Search, so you can get different results like weather info, flight info, news, nearby places, navigate, play games, translate languages and much more. You can even use it to set an alarm or a reminder.
Google Assistant features a personality, like Siri and Cortana, so you can talk to it, ask it to sing a song, tell a joke and more. In addition, Google integrates it other services as well, so if you search for a YouTube video, you can play it right inside Allo.
While stickers and incognito chats may not entice a user to use Allo, Smart Reply and Google Assistant are some really compelling features. WhatsApp might be a feature-rich messaging app but it certainly lacks the smarts of Google Allo.
What Allo Lacks?
Google Allo is still a messaging app, so if you compare it to WhatsApp, you will find a long list of missing features. However, not all of them are deal breakers, so it all depends on you.
Let’s discuss about some features that Allo lacks when compared to WhatsApp:
If you’ve become familiar to making calls in WhatsApp, you will absolutely miss it in Allo. WhatsApp Calls is an extremely useful feature, as it gives you a chance to make calls over WiFi or mobile data and it works well even if you have an internet connection. It additionally includes a data saving mode, so you don’t have to care about losing a lot of your mobile data bandwidth. Google offers video calling with Duo, it’s a separate app altogether, which doesn’t make up for a great user experience.
- Last Seen, Status and Read Receipts Control
Google Allo lacks the “last seen” feature from WhatsApp and that can be a something good or bad, depending on what you want. However, you have to agree that last seen is a good approach to know if a person is active or not. Allo does not show you when someone is online and while it does include read receipts, there is no way to turn it off, unlike WhatsApp. Another feature Allo needs is Status updates, which isn’t really a major issue but comes in handy if you want your contacts to know what’s going on with you off late. Additionally, WhatsApp brings more privacy related features like the ability to hide last seen, profile picture or status.
- Share Files and Text Formatting
WhatsApp additionally lets you share PDF files, documents, spreadsheets and presentations, which comes in accessible if you need to quickly send a file to a contact. On the other hand, Allo only lets you share media and location. Also, as we mentioned above, Allo lacks the formatting features available of WhatsApp like bold, italics and strike-through.
- Backup Support
Unlike WhatsApp, which gives backup your chats on Google Drive (Android) and iCloud (iPhone), Allo lacks any sort of backup feature, which is definitely surprising, considering it’s Google. When you uninstall and reinstall the app on your device, you only get the names of the group chats and none of your chats are restored.
Google Allo is now limited to Android smartphones and the iPhone, which may irritate people who need to access their messages on a computer as well. On the other hand, WhatsApp offers a web client as well as a desktop app and while they don’t run independently, they are useful if you need to use the messenger from your computer.
If you’ve attempted Google Allo, you must have noted that its UI is very similar to WhatsApp. Google knows WhatsApp is the most common messenger out there and the simple UI is what makes the app request to every section of users. There are minor differences though, as Allo incorporates Google’s much praised Material Design a lot better, with the floating button and usage of colors.
Additionally, it includes the menu, which opens up a navigation drawer, is much easier to access, when compared to WhatsApp’s three-dot menu button on Android, particularly on larger phones. Also, Google Assistant is integrated right into the app and there’s not a specific page or interface dedicated to it, which might have resulted in a cluttered experience. Overall, WhatsApp and Allo, both have a pretty similar UI, which is simple to use.
Google Allo does not have a bit when it comes to the security, as it only incorporates end-to-end encryption in the incognito chat mode. Likewise, with Google Assistant integrated and bringing you answers and relevant results, it’s obvious Google is taking up data from your messages. While this will enhance the Smart Reply and Assistant features, it isn’t the most secure process.
To sum things up, WhatsApp is the more secure solution of the two, considering it’s only sharing user data like mobile number, contacts etc. and not the messages with Facebook. On the other hand, Google Allo lacks end-to-end encryption across the app and the Smart Reply & Assistant features will surely take up your message data to get better.
Google Allo vs WhatsApp: Comparison Table
|Text Formatting||Font Size Increase or Decrease||Font, Bold, Italics, Strikethrough|
|Virtual Assistant or Bot||Yes||No|
|End to End Encryption||Incognito Chat only||App-wide|
|Availability||Android, iPhone||Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Web|